Small streams on the brain

Last week I visited three local small streams, partially because I could; partially because the weather didn’t suck; partially because I was curious to see if anyone wanted to play; but mostly because I just plain love small streams.

I began Wednesday afternoon at Stream A. The air temp was just about freezing, and there was still a solid white shelf of ice framing this woodland brook. Didn’t see any bugs, and the action was slow. No love on a bushy dry/nymph dropper, so I switched over to an ICU Sculpin. I was jigging the fly in a plunge pool when I felt some weight. The next thing I saw was an open mouth rising from the depths. And then the char was gone. That was enough to keep me smiling, though.

Remnants from the last ice age. This stuff should pretty much be gone by the middle of this week. However, I’d still expect the water temperatures to be very cold.

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Streams B and C are in more urbanized locations. They’re not for everyone, especially if you desire the unspoiled by humans angling backdrop. So while they lack the classic beauty of the high-gradient mountain brook or lilting meadow stream, they are, nonetheless, charming in a “cool, I hooked a section of heater hose” kind of way. I went Friday, and I thought that with the heavy cloud cover and late afternoon timing, I might get an offer to buy with my white mini bugger sales pitch. Nothing doing. Although I did have a rather tasty cigar.

So much depends 
upon 
 
a brown tree 
trunk
 
glazed with rain
water
 
beside the white 
insulation.

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Farmington River Report 2/15/18: Two Hours of Fun with Streamers

Some days I get so ambivalent about how and where to fish that it annoys the hell out of me. Not today. In fact, I knew last night it would be the Permanent TMA and streamers. The water was receding but still up (550cfs) and that along with heavy cloud cover suggested to me that some big browns might be on the hunt.

Spot A was a blank. One other angler was there, nymphing. He reported a blank, too. Spot B produced two fish, although I dropped the second to an incredibly bad hookset. I should have known what to look for after the first fish: no dull thud or sharp tug, but rather the sensation that the fly was hung up on the bottom, with the bottom then moving. I assumed the second fish was a rock, set with the tip, and a few seconds later the trout was off.

While I had Spot B all to myself, Spot C was a regular angler’s convention. (There were a lot of people out in the Permanent TMA today.) Everyone blanked there.

Fished the full sink integrated line and a short (<3 foot) leader.

I don’t often fish articulated streamers, but the trout liked this olive Peanut Envy today. Here’s a nice mid-teens brown.

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A classic Survivor Strain adipose bump.

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Mainly Misunderstood: five myths and realities about using floating lines for striped bass

No line application in fly fishing is more misunderstood than the floating line for striped bass. Well, maybe not. Maybe it’s the intermediate line. Tell you what — read this, then go forth with your floating line and be fruitful and multiply your striped bass catch. “Mainly Misunderstood: Five Myths and Realities About Using Floating Lines for Striped Bass” includes words of wisdom from striper grandmaster Ken Abrames. It first appeared in the May/June 2017 issue of American Angler.

Mainly Misunderstood-Five Myths and Realities About Using Floating Lines for Striped Bass

All good things to those who invest in the floating line. (Okay, we can add in the flatwing and the greased line swing.)

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Happy Monday and other items of minor interest

Greetings, fellow reader. Just a note to say hello, give some thanks, and update you on current(seams) events.

I had a blast tying at the CFFA Expo on Saturday. Many thanks to those who gathered ’round my vise, said hello, and asked questions. I escaped the show with a just a patch of opossum fur and a bag o’ tungsten beads. Hopefully you found the treasure you were looking for.

Next up: “Trout Flies for Local Rivers” Tying Demo, Saturday, March 31, 10am-2pm at The Compleat Angler, Darien, CT.  I’ll be tying some of my favorite patterns: wets, dries, nymphs, and streamers, from traditional classics to new designs. These are all high-confidence, proven flies, and I’ll also discuss how and when I like to fish them. For directions and stuff, visit the CA website.

I may also be doing a class at UpCountry. I’ll let you know if that happens.

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Hey, we’re getting close to 600 followers! Once we get there, we’ll do our traditional  fly giveaway. 

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I’m starting to get a lot of inquiries for guiding on the Farmington this spring. As usual, my schedule will be tight with other commitments, and weekends will almost always be out. If you have your mind set on a certain date, that’s fine, but if I were you I’d wait a few weeks to see how the spring shakes out. Remember, the Farmy fishes well year round, so there are plenty of options as we move through April, May, June, July, and beyond. I’ve also had some interest in small stream and striper outings. Those are doable as well. If you want to discuss any of this, please send me an email or call me. You can find my contact info here.

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Finally, the word machine is humming along. I have pieces in the pipeline for American Angler, Field & Stream, Fly Tyer, and more. Stay tuned. And thanks for your loyal support!

Before you know it, you’ll be able to stick your hand in the water without it flash-freezing.

DCIM100GOPROG0034182.

 

 

Tying at the CFFA Expo Saturday, Feb 3rd

Come one, come all to the best little fly fishing show around: the CFFA Expo at Maneely’s in South Windsor, CT, Saturday, February 3 from 9am-3pm. You can find me on Fly Tyers’ Row, and as always I’ll be ready to answer questions or just hang out and talk fishing. I’ll be there through 1pm for sure, as we’ll be celebrating Gordo’s birthday later in the day. You can find the Expo details here.

I’m not sure what I’ll be tying, but the Magic Fly (AKA Pale Watery wingless variant) is always a crowd favorite. I’ll do my best to accommodate requests, time and materials permitting.

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Fun near the Raritan River

In the movie 1776, George Washington sends a dispatch to Congress in which he bemoans the sorry state of the Continental Army. Washington describes the soldiers as drunk, disorderly, and cites them for engaging in such scandalous behavior as “naked bathing in the Raritan River.”

That all sounds like fun, but in January it’s really too cold to seriously consider. So I passed up the chance for some skinny dipping in favor of attending the Edison Fly Fishing Show.

My seminar was the show’s first at 9:45am. With the new venue and labyrinthine passageways to the seminar rooms, I had visions of presenting to a crowd of ten. Not to worry — nearly a hundred people showed up, and I’m told it was one of the largest crowds of the day. Thank you if you were part of the audience.

So that was cool. Afterward I walked the floor, did a little networking, shopping, saying hello to friends, and meeting and greeting. Many thanks if you were one of the people who stopped to chat.

I got out cheap with just one purple flatwing saddle. Next up: the CFFA Show on Saturday, February 3rd. I’ll be tying. Details to come.

Pretty fair company. I caught parts of Rosenbauer’s, Daniel’s, Currier’s, Randall’s, and Mayer’s presentations. Just head thataway.

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First Striper of 2018

The tide and weather and scheduling planets aligned last night, so I found myself standing in some very cold water casting a large flatwing and smoking an Alec Bradley Tempus Churchill.

It did not suck. (All of it.) Especially when about 15 minutes in I started to get a few courtesy taps. I couldn’t tell if it was small fish or a subtle cold water take. Covering water, greased line swinging, and then at the end of a drift, a tug, a re-tug, a hook set, and I was into my first striper of 2018.

It felt so good that not even changing a flat tire in a McDonald’s parking lot in the middle of the night in the rain bummed me out.

Twenty inches of striped wonderfulness. The fight was uneventful until I tried to move the fish over a sand bar into some shallows. He wanted none of that, and we had some surface-thrashing bull-in-a-china-shop runs to break the calm of the night.

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